Notes: The 2004 Ford Explorer one of our worst vehicles on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Another common problem for the 2002-2005 Explorer is wheel bearing failure at around 90k miles, with a typical repair bill of $500 to $1000 depending on how many wheel bearings failed.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
17,850 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Ford Explorer fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2004 Ford Explorer Owner Comments

problem #3

Jan 032006

Explorer 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


2004 Ford Explorer limited-owned SUV for 38K been in shop repeatedly-from minor to major things. SUV is a $ 34,000 turd. Currently needing to go back to shop for multiple repairs. The day our warranty expires car is gone.

- Indianola, IA, USA

problem #2

Apr 062006

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,500 miles
: the contact stated intermittently the vehicle stalls while releasing the accelerator pedal at 20-4 0mph. No warning lights have illuminated. After stalling the vehicle will restart, surge and stall again. The vehicle has been taken to the dealership four times. The last visit to the dealership the element, filter, complete module engine, the key was reprogrammed and the cool return was replaced. The next time the vehicle was driven after the repairs were performed the vehicle stalled while crossing a rail road track. The vehicle has stalled a total of five times. It was towed to the dealership four of the five times. The manufacturer has been alerted. The fuel pump was replaced. Updated 05/02/06.

- Saint Augustine, FL, USA

problem #1

Feb 032006

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,050 miles
5 months after purchasing car new in 8/04 it would not start(1/05) ;was able to reset fuel pump shut-off switch and start car. Dealer (muzi Ford, needham, mass.)examined car and found nothing. In 2/05 car would not start, could not reset fuel pump shut off switch; dealer replaced it. In 4/05 same problem occurred and dealer replaced switch, stating it was 'burned out'.in 2/06 identical problem occurred and both switch and computer were replaced by dealer. Fuel pump shut-off switch has been replaced three times at this point. The car is a 2004 Ford Explorer XLS.

- Nashua, NH, USA

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